Longford will fail to have 100 percent quality broadband by 2013, according to Fianna Fáil Cllr Martin Mulleady. Referring to the national target as stipulated by the European Union (EU), the Drumlish councillor told the Leader: “It shouldn’t be like that but there’s no money there to upgrade it. They may be working up to broadband in every house, but it’s very limited.”
Hitting out at Longford Westmeath TD James Bannon (FG), Cllr Mulleady said: “Our representation in government is chronic. One TD covering the whole of the county - the Government is just not listening to Bannon. He doesn’t have enough power there and the services in Longford are going down.”
While Deputy Bannon accepted coverage in the south of the county (Legan) was “very patchy”, he believed that the 2013 target would be met.
“I took it up with Minister Rabbitte and he gave me an undertaking that everyone in Longford would have access to broadband. This is one of my priorities,” he said.
There are 18 eircom exchanges in Longford county and 11 of these have been enabled for DSL broadband. Asked if the seven remaining exchanges would be upgraded, eircom stated to the Leader: “Unfortunately we have no current plans to upgrade the exchanges as it is uneconomical for eircom or any other operator in the market to do so.”
Despite the lack of technical infrastructure available, Deputy Bannon remained insistent that the 2013 deadline would be met.
“The Government must comply by 2013 for broadband countrywide. That has to be adhered to. There will be more up-to-date systems of delivering that service,” he said.
Looking at the situation from a commercial perspective, Cllr Mulleady believed that the lack of technological infrastructure was a deterrent to potential businesses.
“Up in north Longford, the connection wouldn’t be adequate for business. In this day and age broadband is the main thing to have. It’s nearly more important than the normal phone, as everyone has mobiles these days,” he said.
The Legan TD agreed but placed the blame “firmly where it belongs”.
“Over the years the Government has been responsible for the delivery of broadband services and this has been shameful. I want to see this resolved. I understand the frustration for businesses and domestic users. I know our business sector is suffering because of this.”
The seven exchanges which are not DSL broadband enabled are: Ardagh, Carrickglass, Clondra, Colehill, Kenagh, Moyne Cross, and Newtowncashel.